Make Your Next Vacation a Little More Introspective with a Yoga Retreat
There are vacations you take to explore the outside world. Backpacking across Europe, mountain climbing in the Alps, or taking a cruise on the Nile will get you out of your comfort zone and teach you something new about a place you’ve never been. These trips of a lifetime are the result of years of dreaming, scheming, and saving – the anticipation is half the fun.
Some getaways, though, are meant for exploring your inner world. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the busy pace of work and home life. Stress and tension build up slowly but surely, and eventually, you need some time to process it all. Visiting a place that gets you back into a natural state of being can be just the medicine for restoring peace and mental clarity.
Yoga retreats get your mind away from mundane distractions and focus on you. Destination retreat centers in places like Costa Rica, Spain, and India – often surrounded by scenery that would make the Dalai Lama do a double take – enhance the feeling of relaxation that yoga brings. Luxury retreats offer more than just pose and repose – local gourmet organic food, posh accommodations and spa treatments as relaxing as a long rest in savansana. We’ve curated a collection of some of the most breathtaking yoga retreats around the globe to get you started planning your dream getaway and transformation into a blissed-out yogi. Namaste.
Blue Spirit Retreat, Nosara, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s lush rainforests and sparkling blue oceans are central features at Blue Spirit Retreat, a spot on the country’s Nicoya Peninsula that visitors have described as “heaven on Earth.” The sounds and sights of nature are all around, from butterflies flitting in the sunlight to howler monkeys serving as your wakeup call (ideal for the 6 a.m. yoga and meditation classes). Their schedule is booked year-round with organized retreats and teacher trainings, and they have hosted world-renowned yoga instructors.
Accommodations range from pure luxury (Superior Ocean View rooms with A/C) to more back-to-roots lodging (Eco-cottages and tents), depending on whether you want the comforts of home or to let nature be your guide. Both ocean and mountain views are available in the larger rooms. The Nature Suites are a popular choice among reviewers – nestled on a hill among the trees, they feature a private bath and outdoor shower.
The gourmet, organic and locally sourced meals are mostly vegetarian, like bountiful salads and fresh baked bread, with some fresh caught fish. Commune with others at the three daily meal times, and enjoy organic wines and fine beers in the evenings at Blue Spirit Café. Your yoga sessions take place in beautiful studios with breathtaking views – like the open-aired Nature Studios with pink flowers and lush greenery in every direction. Relax and unwind with body sessions featuring acupressure, crystal therapy, body scrubs, and more than a dozen other treatments. Eat well, sleep well, and live well for your stay at Blue Spirit, an experience that will nourish both body and soul.
For more information visit: www.bluespiritcostarica.com
Ashiyana Retreat Centre, Goa, India
This yoga center in Goa has a schedule packed with retreats for all yoga needs, from teacher trainings to combinations of yoga with holistic healing practices. Ashiyana is right near the beach, so visitors can enjoy a dip in the ocean after morning yoga. The exotic coast of Goa is known for its vibrant nightlife, but you’ll be sleeping like a baby at this peaceful center of tranquility in a city that goes 24/7.
Suites, luxury eco-cottages, and beach huts make the accommodations at Ashiyana suitable for a flexible budget. The Raj Suites, located along the Mandrem River, are all organically shaped and stone-built, blending in perfectly with the nature that surrounds it. In the Palm Grove section of the grounds, Ashiyana visitors live among a tropical garden beautifully decorated with a blend of Indian and Indonesian touches.
A specialty at Ashiyana is the Detox and Rejuvenation retreats that reset and refresh the body. Ayurvedic treatments and a simple cleansing diet are designed to help with weight loss, stress reduction, and treating illness. Reenergize and restore balance with one of three “Elixir Programs” offered at the Spa, which include several days’ worth of massages, meditation sessions, and personalized yoga programs to keep you centered.
For more information visit: www.ashiyana-yoga-goa.com
Silver Island Yoga Retreat, Greece
Accessible by boat off the coast of Evia Island, Silver Island Yoga Retreat is a place to go off the grid and disconnect – with no main power and no Internet connection, there’s no conceivable perception of the outside world while you’re there (though cell phone service is available, if needed). It’s just you, the island, and your yoga practice. Silver Island’s week-long yoga holidays are offered from April through October, and each hosts a maximum of 10 guests to ensure students get personalized attention.
Silver Island Yoga is a family-run operation: two Greek South African sisters operate it off the private island that has been in their family for generations. Yoga on this 60-acre paradise is hosted on an open-air shala by the Aegean sea. More than 2500 olive trees wave their branches along these shores. The accommodations – three ensuite rooms and three rooms with shared bathrooms – are named after Greek goddesses and are decorated warmly with minimal fuss.
Instructors vary from week to week, and each has their own style – from highly meditative hatha practices to more flowly and active Vinyasa. Choose the style that’s right for you, whether it’s Kundalini yoga for detoxification or yoga designed for clearing the mind. Usually classes are offered twice a day – morning and evening – and some teachers will do private classes during the afternoon.
For more information visit: www.silverislandyoga.com
Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand
On the coast of Golden Bay, Anahata Yoga Retreat is located in the remote bush of New Zealand’s South Island. Stay a week to fortify yourself, or for months on end for complete restoration of mind, body and spirit. Extended stays allow visitors to create their own personal retreat – from the daily yoga schedule offerings to private meditation and spiritual guidance.
Anahata embraces eco-living, a philosophy that touches every aspect of a stay at the ashram. The Anahata retreats are a communal experience of oneness with nature and connecting with other yogis. When you’re not practicing yoga or meditation, there are opportunities to learn Yogic cooking, sing kirtans, play traditional musical instruments and take a relaxing walk to the waterfall. Lodging options embrace closeness with the outdoors and include shared rooms, private straw bale houses and tent camping.
The yoga practiced here is of the Satyananda Yoga tradition, which blends practices found in other styles like Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Raja Yoga, while incorporating unique practices developed by Anahata’s Swami. Personalized health and lifestyle consultations can deepen your awareness of your own body and make for a holistic awakening. This jewel of the South Pacific gives an authentic ashram experience and full immersion in the yoga lifestyle.
For more information visit: www.anahata-retreat.org.nz
Kaliyoga, Andalucia, Spain
A one-week stay at Kaliyoga will get you yoga and guided meditation classes, three square vegetarian meals a day, special activities and workshops, and well-kept quarters to rest your head. About two or three different retreats are offered each month. The Raw Superfood Cleanse, for instance, offers lessons in raw cooking and nutrition along with the 11 yoga classes, focusing on the healing powers of nutrient-rich foods prepared healthfully.
The schedules at Kaliyoga’s retreats keep you busy with classes, but are flexible enough to allow you the down time that you need. Gather with other yogis around the communal dinner table for evening meals. If you need some alone time, head to the hot tub or set up camp in a hammock for an afternoon of light reading. Classes are geared toward those who have some experience with yoga, though all levels can gain something from the highly knowledgeable and experienced teachers.
Choose your housing from six rooms, all decorated in exotic Spanish designs and colors, some with private bathrooms and others with shared. The Ganesha room has an ensuite bathroom, perfectly matching décor in light, refreshing colors, a four-poster bed with curtains, and access to a small courtyard off the side. If you’ve always wanted to try “glamping,” book a cozy single and double tipi room, furnished with tiled flooring and rugs, luxurious bedding, and all the electricity you’ll need.
For more information visit: www.kaliyoga.com
Paradis Plage Yoga, Agadir, Morocco
Morocco is known for its bright colors, aromatic spices, and vibrant open-air markets and cafes. There’s another side of Morocco where orange groves bathe the land in shade and some people surf as often as others go to mosque. Paradis Plage Yoga is centered in this slice of central coastal Morocco, where busy street life meets placid ocean living.
The suites, bungalows and villas at this exclusive resort getaway are a respite from the bustle of the city. Sheltered from the crowded beach and urban noise, the rooms are quiet, restful, and designed with modern tastes. The Prestige Suites have spectacular views of the ocean and gardens, and each has a living room area, two rooms, and two bathrooms – ideal for two couples vacationing together.
Resident teacher Karim Fadali, certified in Classical Tantra and Yoga Therapy, delivers yoga classes morning, noon and night. He has taught yoga all around the world and has been leading groups for more than 15 years. Two-day and five-day packages are offered, as well as packages that include spa services and surfing lessons, or drop in as much as your body needs. Specialized classes, like the restorative Yin Yoga or private yoga therapy for body realignment, help you work toward personal health and wellness goals.
For more information visit: www.paradisplage.com